Melbourne Tennis Extravaganza, Day 6: Muguruza in sensational form, beats Kenin in AO final rematch

Thankfully there were no further positive cases recorded on Thursday and the tennis returned on Friday with another manic schedule. The Australian Open draw was also released overnight. My FOMO is through the roof right now 😂. All the quarter-finals from the Yarra Valley Classic and the Gippsland Trophy were played under the MCA roof and third sets have now been replaced by a Champions tiebreak for the rest of these tournaments. I haven’t had a chance to watch any matches from the Grampian Trophy yet but hoping to on Saturday! The day 6 notebook covers some of the quarter-finals.

QF Results

Garbiñe Muguruza d. Sofia Kenin, 6-2 6-2 (Yarra Valley Classic)

We’ve been one match away from an Australian Open final rematch three times in the last year in Doha, Rome and then Abu Dhabi in the first week of 2021. It finally came to fruition on Friday as Muguruza produced a sensational performance to turn the tables on Kenin. Without doubt, this was the most impressive individual performance i’ve seen so far in Australia.

The first set was vintage Muguruza, playing the right way and the tennis that has helped her win two Majors. She was taking the ball so early and coming forward to hit drive volleys. Muguruza’s depth was impeccable for most of the match. Kenin started to go for too much and too early in rallies which felt induced from the pressure that Muguruza exerted. Just a dreamy performance from Muguruza – 26 winners to 11 unforced errors, 10 aces and into the semi-finals having dropped just nine games in three matches. Watch out for Mugu. I hope she hasn’t peaked too early!

Serena Williams d. Danielle Collins, 6-2 4-6 10-6 (Yarra Valley Classic)

Serena faced her first test of the tournament and she passed it, beating Danielle Collins in a first time meeting. The difference between the pair in the first set was Serena’s return. It was so heavy and forceful, Collins couldn’t deal with it and it made Collins appear rather flat and subdued which is quite a feat. Collins came back in the second set and competed superbly. After securing a break at 3-3, she managed to consolidate it from *0-40 in the next game, one of the best games of the match.

The match went into a Champions tiebreak with a return to the dynamics of the first set as Serena served superbly and jumped on Collins’s second serve. I’ve got my eye on Collins for the AO. For an hour, I was so excited about the prospective Serena-Ash semi-final. Sadly, but not surprisingly, Serena pulled out citing a shoulder injury. I would guess that’s not an issue at all and she’ll be good to go for the Australian Open. I think Serena’s had three good matches, a test today, and will be as well prepared as anyone for the upcoming first Slam of the year.

Elise Mertens d. Elina Svitolina, 6-3 5-7 10-6 (Gippsland Trophy)

The last match of the day was one of the most dramatic as Mertens needed six match points and a Champions tiebreak to see off Svitolina. Mertens led 6-3 5-2 before Svitolina reeled off five straight games. There were some intense, extended rallies towards the end of the second set. Mertens had three match points at *5-4 in the second set but Svitolina was plucky personified as she got out of the game and grabbed the set as Mertens folded at the end.

Mertens managed to reset in the Champions tiebreak although with a lot of help from Svitolina who made a woeful start to the tiebreak. The relief on Mertens’s face at the end said it all! I constantly yo-yo with my opinions on Svitolina. She’s playing better than this time last year. I’m still not particularly high on her right now. Mertens has developed an aggressive streak to her game and established herself as one of the most reliable players on the tour. This was a big victory and just her second win in her last 11 matches against a top ten player.

Hot shot 🔥

Vika-Poots sounded fun – this was a great volley down match point.

Press conference 📰

Interesting to hear from Bianca Andreescu in her pre-AO press conference. She spoke about pulling out of the Grampians Trophy.

Recommended media 📺

Nice interview with Francesca Jones.

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11 thoughts on “Melbourne Tennis Extravaganza, Day 6: Muguruza in sensational form, beats Kenin in AO final rematch

  1. Great match from Muguruza! This is the kind of play which made me think she was going to dominate the tour four years ago. It’s good to see that she has that fire back…

    Really happy with Serena’s level. I don’t think she’s injured – I think she just wants the rest. If she plays like this next week, she’ll be a tough one for anybody to beat.

    Also, I’m glad to see Marketa Vondrousova stringing some wins together.

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      • Not very well haha! I think if Muguruza wins tomorrow against Barty, she’s going to be shooting to the top of a lot of people’s predictions for the coming Slam! I’m not sure whether that’s a good thing for her or not though…

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  2. Getting over the ‘flu so I missed most of the tennis, but I did see the highlights of what looked like a good match between Danielle Collins and Serena Williams. Two sets and then a tiebreak (first up to 10) seems like a good format, almost like the Twenty20 format for cricket.

    No one hits angles like Serena, and that match point was a prime example..

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    • Hope you are feeling better, Graham. I enjoyed Serena-Collins, it was a good match. I thought it was a good move from the WTA to help get these matches been done. It’s been a wild week! Looking forward to just the one tournament to focus on.

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      • On the mend now thanks James 🙂 It’s turning out to be a very exciting AO; players with several different styles of game all in contention with one another.

        I usually like to see first time slam winners, but IMO it’s really hard to bet against Naomi when she’s on form as she clearly is at the moment.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Glad to hear, Graham! Indeed it’s shaping up for an exciting conclusion. As well as the faves, I’m delighted to see the likes of Muchova and Hsieh still in who have such interesting games. Agree that Osaka looks like the one to beat right now.

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  3. Been so out of tennis, I was utterly confused by the cluster of events taking place. In a perfect world, I think we would probably be in a desert tournament somewhere, Qatar or Dubai or preparing for Indian Wells. I find myself tiptoeing about life, careful not to tread on some pandemic’s toes.

    Anyway, not sure which players are showing good form, but carrying on from last year, I’m thinking having your head on right will put you high up in any prediction. The mental game will be key.

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    • Nice to hear from you, letsplay 🙂. It’s certainly an odd time. Enjoying the tennis as a distraction. I’m not sure how much to read into the form of the past week’s tournaments. I agree that the mental game is so important these days.

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